Young Muslim travellers have stopped waiting for countries and companies to adapt to their needs and are now taking matters into their own hands, according to new research by TBWA\Asia.

Muslim travellers have become one of the fastest growing consumer segments, making up about 10% of the global travel category but they remain relatively under-served, The Drum reported.

In response, the segment has developed efficient communities and social ecosystems for recommending great halal travel destinations and services – by simply cutting out those that don’t meet their expectations.

Nazirah Ashari, director of strategy at TBWA\Kuala Lumpur, noted that halal travel involves more than “hotels labelling breakfast menus”.

“If countries, and companies, are serious about attracting the attention of this increasingly influential audience, there must be a conscious effort to understand what is important to this group of travellers; what motivates their decisions to choose one destination over the next,” she said.

The research helped confirm that Muslim travellers do not want to compromise their faith-based needs while travelling, but also don’t want their values to hinder their travel experience. They want to integrate and appreciate their surroundings, not be segregated due to their beliefs. [For more, read WARC’s report: What we know about targeting Muslim consumers in South-East Asia.]

Findings highlighted an increasing number of young Muslims travelling independently, with Malaysian and Indonesian travellers looking to visit approximately four countries in the next 18 months.

What’s also striking is the number of young independent female Muslim travellers looking to travel, with 89% considering taking an all-girls trip in the next 18 months – a growing trend that TBWA\Asia has dubbed “sisters on tour”.

“Sisters on tour is definitely an area of interest. We’ve found 1-in-3 females interviewed have already travelled for leisure with their girlfriends, despite the various barriers, with a high percentage planning a trip over the next 18 months,” said Ashari.

Most female travellers hail from Malaysia and Indonesia, with 46% and 38% of females having already travelled with their girlfriends from these respective markets. In the UK 33% of females surveyed said they have already been on an all-girls trip.

Conducted by Singapore-based research house Intuit Research, the study interviewed almost 1,000 Muslims aged between 18 and 30 across Malaysia, Indonesia and the UK.

Meanwhile, last year’s Mastercard-CrescentRating Digital Muslim Travel Report indicated that the digital Muslim-friendly travel market is projected to grow consistently as Muslim travellers spend an estimated US$180bn by 2026 on online travel purchases.

Sourced from TBWA\Asia, The Drum, Mastercard-CrescentRating; additional content by WARC staff